Become an entrepreneur is something you will have heard often. People often forget that being an entrepreneur requires skills, knowledge, experience and an appetite for risk. This series of articles draws on my experience of working in corporate for 22 years, leaving corporate to open my own business and subsequently working with my clients for the last ten years as a business and life coach. You can expect me to share openly and to say it like it is. I promised myself in those early days to become the person whom I needed.
Years ago, when I first started my company, a friend of mine asked me whether I had a company name, a logo, a bank account and if I could send him a quote and an invoice.
This all sounds over-simplified as we like to think that starting our own company is way more complex than this. We end up rushing around doing the “important stuff” and forget the basics. Over the years I have seen so many clients who have not spent time on the basics. For me, this is the same as setting out to build a giant structure, but not spending time on any foundations. Is it any wonder that the structure ends up being not as great as we first thought or even falls down?
Where do we start?
My mom always used to say that you need to sleep in your guest room in order to know what your guest experiences.
The same can be said for your business. Be the customer and walk yourself through the process. You may already have a process in place or you could be at the stage of wanting to put in the process. Maybe the process has been in place for years. Is it still relevant? Do people skip steps? Could it be modernized?
Having the basics in place saves so much time and stress later. There is nothing worse than getting that huge opportunity and your ideal customer asks you to send them a company profile, or proposal or to quote them on something and you first need to go and research what is in a company profile. In today’s automated world, can you send your documents from your cell phone or do you need to go back to the office?
What are some of the basics? You are welcome to add to the list
• An accounting system – automated or manual
• An accountant – a qualified one
• Quote template
• Proposal template
• Invoice template
• Stock take sheet – if you have product
• Company name
• Bank account
• Company profile
• A bio if you are the person people are going to hire
• A business plan – more about that in another article
• Business cards – these can be digital now
• Flyers – again these are digital now
• A way for your customer to find you e.g. website and social media
• A way for your customer to contact you – cell, email, other (you need data and to answer)
• Delivery info (e.g. which courier will you use?)
• Product, Service and Procedural knowledge and being able to talk it
As I am writing this, the little voice in my head is telling me this article is too simplified and I am telling the Voice that they are wrong. There is so much info out there for entrepreneurs, but it is written in jargon that no one understands. So often I went hunting for help and had no clue what I was being told.
Let’s unpack that last one in my list – Product, Service and Procedural Knowledge and being able to talk it.
What do I mean?
Let’s imagine you have a picnic basket company.
A stranger meets you at a party and asks you about your business and you tell them you sell picnic baskets AND ….
You need to know and share more than that
Is there food in the basket or only the basket?
What are your best-selling baskets? Do you know what you would recommend for a romantic date? I am taking teenagers on a picnic what do you recommend? How would that change if they were 5-year-olds? Should we eat what is in the basket on the same day? Can you courier me my basket in Blikkiesfontein? Do you have vegan, vegetarian, halal, no carbs etc. Can you send me a brochure? I really need an ice cream to be included in my basket.
Your potential client will listen to your answers and watch your body language and decide instantly whether it would be a good bet to get a picnic basket from you or not. People will watch you and decide consciously or subconsciously that you are confident and believe in your product/service or they would be better served by never working with you.
Confidence and being able to speak your business can only come from practice.
What can you do?
• Invest the time to make the list of the basics for your business.
• Invest the time to be the customer in your business and do each step.
• Now put the basics into place
• Working with a coach can save you ages as they are trained to see big pictures and to ask difficult questions.
submitted by Colleen Qvist (Master Coach)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author.